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Thread: the cheap route

  1. #1

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    the cheap route

    I'm talking to all if those who go the cheapest route possible short of staying in your car. A friend mentioned that she'd like to go to Disneyland since she had heard so much about it from me. Maybe for Christmas vacation when her kids were out of school. She was surprised at the cost and suggested that we eat every meal in the motel room. Not a fan of that but if it gets me to the park, ok. So has anyone done this? How would that work? I don't eat really expensive while I'm there anyway but this does't seem like vacation to eat t.v. dinners.
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    Re: the cheap route

    The Convention Center Super 8 can sometimes be had for less than $40 a night...clean, comfortable, and close....and a free continental breakfast.

    Unless you're planning on walking(it's not a terrible walk, but after walking all day at the park it might seem so), you're still going to need to spend about $10 a person for the ART shuttle(for the entire trip, not every day)

    I suppose you could eat all your meals in the motel....but that so doesn't sound like a vacation to me. McDonald's has a dollar menu, can't get much cheaper than that and it still beats eating Bologna in your motel room. IHOP and Denny's usually have some inexpensive items on their menus (but you have to discipline yourself a bit, as their menu's also have some things that are not all that cheap too).

    At the park, well everything there is way overpriced but there are a couple of places that are not too bad:

    Golden Horseshoe .......some fairly hearty entree's served here for not too terribly much money....the trick is not to order any extra sides, deserts, or beverages(most Disneyland restaurants will give you a free cup of ice water for no charge...just ask for a courtesy cup...this will save you almost $3.00 per person every meal)

    Bengal Barbecue........very tasty and filling skewers of chicken, beef, and vegtables availalbe here for less than $4.00 per skewer; if you avoid the side dishes and the beverages you might be eating here for less than a trip to McDonalds without ever leaving the park!

    In Downtown Disney there's The Jazz Kitchen Express....you can get a family size order of beignets for under $10.00.....makes for a great inexpensive breakfast.

    In the very least, eat at least one meal(or even a snack) a day outside of your hotel room......................
    Last edited by sleepyjeff; 08-23-2010 at 01:06 AM.
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    Re: the cheap route

    Also:

    There is a sort of sneaky way to get your friend to agree to eat a nice meal away from your motel for one night.

    You, of course, will have to pay for it but you can get a gift card from The Rainforest Cafe, Naples, Jazz Kitchen or any number of other Downtown Disney Restaruants and then just tell the friend someone gave you the card and you want help in spending it
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    Re: the cheap route

    If you are looking to ultra-economize on food while you are down there I highly recommend checking out mousesavers dot com first. They have a great section on food discounts in and around Disneyland and links to lots of discounts and coupons you can use.

    So before shlepping down to Target or Ralphs to buy Pop Tarts, Top Ramen and PB&J in your in-room dining pleasure for every meal check out the deals available there. There's OC Visitor's Bureau coupons for IHOP, La Brea Bakery, Johnny Rocket's, McDonald's, Rainforest Cafe, Ruby's, California Pizza Kitchen and many others.

    I picked up a link there for $10 off a $25 purchase at Rainforest Cafe. That site also a ton of info on great coupons that are available in the local edition of the Entertainmkent book.

    They also have advice on going places with large portion sizes like Rancho del Zocalo in the park and Tortilla Jo's take-out window burritos at Downtown Disney. Some of their entrees are big enough for two people to split for the cost of one meal.

    They also have the latest discounts for Restaurant dot com where you can usually get a $25 off coupon for places like House of Blues at Downtown Disney and many other local restaurants for $2 or $3 after using their current discount code.

    Cheers and good luck with your planning.
    Disneyland Trips: 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 83, 84, 86, 90, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09, 10, 11

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    Re: the cheap route

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
    Also:

    There is a sort of sneaky way to get your friend to agree to eat a nice meal away from your motel for one night.

    You, of course, will have to pay for it but you can get a gift card from The Rainforest Cafe, Naples, Jazz Kitchen or any number of other Downtown Disney Restaruants and then just tell the friend someone gave you the card and you want help in spending it
    I like your style!!!! Eating in the motel room every meal is not my idea of a vacation either.
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    Re: the cheap route

    Thanks for your great suggestions!

    [quote=sleepyjeff;1056196073]The Convention Center Super 8 can sometimes be had for less than $40 a night...clean, comfortable, and close....and a free continental breakfast.[QUOTE]
    $40 sounds great! I was hoping to get rooms for $50 or less with free parking. Would the rooms be large enough for a roll away?
    Unless you're planning on walking(it's not a terrible walk, but after walking all day at the park it might seem so), you're still going to need to spend about $10 a person for the ART shuttle(for the entire trip, not every day)
    That would be better than parking everyday.

    At the park, well everything there is way overpriced but there are a couple of places that are not too bad:

    Golden Horseshoe .......some fairly hearty entree's served here for not too terribly much money....the trick is not to order any extra sides, deserts, or beverages(most Disneyland restaurants will give you a free cup of ice water for no charge...just ask for a courtesy cup...this will save you almost $3.00 per person every meal)

    Bengal Barbecue........very tasty and filling skewers of chicken, beef, and vegtables availalbe here for less than $4.00 per skewer; if you avoid the side dishes and the beverages you might be eating here for less than a trip to McDonalds without ever leaving the park!

    In Downtown Disney there's The Jazz Kitchen Express....you can get a family size order of beignets for under $10.00.....makes for a great inexpensive breakfast.

    In the very least, eat at least one meal(or even a snack) a day outside of your hotel room......................
    I'll try to convince her of the hassle of eating in the motel. Personally it seems more of a hassle to do that than leaving the park to eat at McD's. Besides, it's not vacation like.

    At the park are there any places that the entree's would be big enough to share? Is there a list somewhere I could check?
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    Re: the cheap route

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Mickey View Post
    If you are looking to ultra-economize on food while you are down there I highly recommend checking out mousesavers dot com first. They have a great section on food discounts in and around Disneyland and links to lots of discounts and coupons you can use.

    So before shlepping down to Target or Ralphs to buy Pop Tarts, Top Ramen and PB&J in your in-room dining pleasure for every meal check out the deals available there. There's OC Visitor's Bureau coupons for IHOP, La Brea Bakery, Johnny Rocket's, McDonald's, Rainforest Cafe, Ruby's, California Pizza Kitchen and many others.

    I picked up a link there for $10 off a $25 purchase at Rainforest Cafe. That site also a ton of info on great coupons that are available in the local edition of the Entertainmkent book.

    They also have advice on going places with large portion sizes like Rancho del Zocalo in the park and Tortilla Jo's take-out window burritos at Downtown Disney. Some of their entrees are big enough for two people to split for the cost of one meal.

    They also have the latest discounts for Restaurant dot com where you can usually get a $25 off coupon for places like House of Blues at Downtown Disney and many other local restaurants for $2 or $3 after using their current discount code.

    Cheers and good luck with your planning.
    Great tips, thanks!
    Food and souvenirs are the only variable costs so need to take advantage of that. When I told her the cost of tickets for just her and her daughter, she just went pale. lol I tried to warn her.

    These are great suggestions! It's been a long time since visiting last and I wasn't on a budget. This is new territory.

    Is there a site that has tips for families? I've never traveled to DL with kids and am not familiar with everything available that might interest them.
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    Re: the cheap route

    1) Not sure if the super 8 has room for rollaways. You should certainly contact them ahead of making ressies. In any event, there are at least a dozen motels in the area that can be had for around 40 - 50 bucks a night.....I am sure at least a few of them can accommodate.

    2) mousesavers.com and allears.net/dlr/dlresort.htm both have buckets of information that might help you save some money. I especially like the menus at allears......they list every single restaurant, what they serve, and what it costs.

    3) Some motels (including that super 8 I was telling you about) serve a free continental breakfast in the lobby.......take advantage of this and 1/3 of your meals are covered.
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    Re: the cheap route

    Thank you again for your help! I will definitely look for continental breakkies. That super 8 sounds even better.
    Thanks for the allears tip too!
    This will help a lot!

    Anyone else have tips on cheapskate ways to save?
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    Re: the cheap route

    Ice water instead of paying for drinks is probably the single most effective food cost saver that there is.

    Beyond that I'd recommend the chili at Golden Horseshoe and gumbo at Royal St. Veranda (near Pirates). Both are well-made tasty soups served in a bread bowl for about $9 - almost exactly what any non-theme park restaurant would charge. The soup is good, and then the bread almost doubles as a filling side that allows for some good carbo-loading for all the walking and moving around that'll be done for the rest of the day. Also, if you time your entry into the Golden Horseshoe according to the entertainment guide, you can enjoy your food while watching the Billy Hill & the Hillbillies show. Food and show for $9 - just try to beat that anywhere, especially in a theme park.

    Best way to save on hotels is to book one of the hotels on Harbor Blvd about 3-4 weeks in advance. You'll usually find rates from $60-120/night depending on how close to the East entrance to the DLR property you want to be, but any hotel on Harbor anywhere between Disney Way and Manchester is within walking distance. My personal recommendation is the Tropicana Inn. Good service, good pool, no surprise parking upcharge, nice breakfast, extremely close to the crosswalk, and of course no parking cost since parking @ the hotel is included with stay and Disneyland is easily within walking distance.

    Pay absolutely no attention to any actual Disney hotel (Disneyland Hotel, Grand Californian, Paradise Pier) if you're really looking to save money. Whatever you save at Paradise Pier is given back in its non-walking distance location. (Don't believe the story that walking through Grand Californian makes it seem shorter. Your tired legs won't buy that story after midnight - trust me.)

    Best cost-effective restaurant I've known at DLR is the Storyteller's Cafe at the Grand Californian. It seems weird that a cost-effective restaurant is in the luxury hotel of all places, but it's true. Storyteller's offers a great kids menu, and a diverse adult menu including both large and small portion-sized meals ranging from spaghetti to salmon to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Whatever you feel like eating can be found there, and the non-buffet items are priced almost exactly at the same points that popular chain restaurants price their meals at. As a bonus, all entrees at Storyteller's come with some really awesome unlimited white bread and corn muffins. I'm a big portion eater, and I've come away stuffed from Storyteller's without buying the buffet for under $15. It's hard to do that at any restaurant anywhere, and this is a superbly-themed restaurant in a luxury hotel.

    Hope these tips help!

    "Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom." -- James 3:13

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    Re: the cheap route

    The pasta at Redd Rockett's in Tommorrowland can definately be shared. They run between $8.50 and $9.

    Try restaurant dot com for coupons, they run specials were one can buy a $25 coupon for $2. HOB in DtD honors them.

    If you stay at a motel that has a free breakfast, or if you bring muffins, croissants and fruit from home, and then do a 'snack lunch' (nuts, dried fruit, m&ms, juice boxes (you can free ice from the restauants without buying a meal), jerky, etc), then you can spend more on dinner!!

    I would skip the ART, personally, after hoofing it around the Park all day, what's another 3/4 of a mile?? But I like to walk!!

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    Re: the cheap route

    What I suggest too is that when we eat in our room, I prepare hors d'oeuvres so it's not like we are having to have meals in our room. Buy some snacks to go back and eat in the middle of the day and you have one meal down that is cheap. Use it as a time to relax and regroup!
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    Re: the cheap route

    Quote Originally Posted by PeoplemoverMatt View Post
    Ice water instead of paying for drinks is probably the single most effective food cost saver that there is.
    This cannot be said enough^

    Most Disneyland eateries will serve you free ice water.

    A family of 5, over the course of 3 days, can easily save well over a $100.00 just by switching to ice water.

    Although, Disneyland is not the best place to go thru caffiene withdrawls...so if you are a soda addict, you may want to make yourself a cup of coffee back at the motel right before you leave for the parks....some motels provide a coffee machine right in your room(and if you want to make that an ice coffee, just pour that coffee into a larger cup full of ice from the ice machine )
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    Re: the cheap route

    If you really want to go on an all out savings trip I recommend the following:

    Priceline your room. We have gotten the Extended Stay America for as low as $25 a night, free parking, small kitchenette (stove, microwave, refrigerator) and within walking distance, right behind Anaheim Garden Walk.

    If you are driving bring an ice chest filled with breakfast foods and late night snacks and water bottles. Also pick up some of those crystal light/koolaid single bottle mixers. Kids will not feel that they are missing out on soda if they have choices. You can bring in to the park a water bottle for each of you and then keep refilling it at the various restaurants.

    Foodwise: Breakfast at the hotel with food brought from home or a local grocery store.

    Lunch: Walk to McDonald's from the park, bring PB & J Sandwiches and put them in a locker and eat in the picnic area or go the sharing route. My husband and I have found that we can easily share 1 adult and 1 kids meal between the 2 of us and be full. We have also used restaurant.com and saved $25 off a $35 (inc. tip) order at Fire & Ice at Garden Walk.
    Dinner: Same as lunch or if the park is closing early, Del Taco is just down the street and they have .39 cent tacos; Jack in the Box is also nearby with their dollar menu or eat something prepared in the room.

  15. #15

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    Re: the cheap route

    Gosh, who knew there were so many ways to save a few bucks at the happiest place on earth! Thanks so much for all your helpful tips!

    Quote Originally Posted by PeoplemoverMatt View Post
    Ice water instead of paying for drinks is probably the single most effective food cost saver that there is.
    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
    This cannot be said enough^

    Most Disneyland eateries will serve you free ice water.
    Believe me, this tip is a life saver. I drink a lot of water every day, so does my friend, and I imagine this would be doubly important at Disneyland.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeoplemoverMatt View Post
    Beyond that I'd recommend the chili at Golden Horseshoe and gumbo at Royal St. Veranda (near Pirates). Both are well-made tasty soups served in a bread bowl for about $9 - almost exactly what any non-theme park restaurant would charge. The soup is good, and then the bread almost doubles as a filling side that allows for some good carbo-loading for all the walking and moving around that'll be done for the rest of the day. Also, if you time your entry into the Golden Horseshoe according to the entertainment guide, you can enjoy your food while watching the Billy Hill & the Hillbillies show. Food and show for $9 - just try to beat that anywhere, especially in a theme park.
    Learn something new everyday. Hopefully the kids like gumbo. I have never seen The Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show. Looking forward to that in particular since everyone here raves about it. Sounds like a good way to recharge too.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeoplemoverMatt View Post
    Best way to save on hotels is to book one of the hotels on Harbor Blvd about 3-4 weeks in advance. You'll usually find rates from $60-120/night depending on how close to the East entrance to the DLR property you want to be, but any hotel on Harbor anywhere between Disney Way and Manchester is within walking distance. My personal recommendation is the Tropicana Inn. Good service, good pool, no surprise parking upcharge, nice breakfast, extremely close to the crosswalk, and of course no parking cost since parking @ the hotel is included with stay and Disneyland is easily within walking distance.
    Good to know about the reserving so close to the trip dates. I'm hoping to get something less than $60 a night, but I'll definitely check out the Tropicana Inn since walking distance and free parking is preferable.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeoplemoverMatt View Post
    Best cost-effective restaurant I've known at DLR is the Storyteller's Cafe at the Grand Californian. Storyteller's offers a great kids menu, and a diverse adult menu including both large and small portion-sized meals ranging from spaghetti to salmon to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Whatever you feel like eating can be found there, and the non-buffet items are priced almost exactly at the same points that popular chain restaurants price their meals at. As a bonus, all entrees at Storyteller's come with some really awesome unlimited white bread and corn muffins. I'm a big portion eater, and I've come away stuffed from Storyteller's without buying the buffet for under $15. It's hard to do that at any restaurant anywhere, and this is a superbly-themed restaurant in a luxury hotel.

    Hope these tips help!
    Never would have considered this option. Sounds like a good semi-slpurge meal.

    Quote Originally Posted by RetroMousie View Post
    The pasta at Redd Rockett's in Tommorrowland can definately be shared. They run between $8.50 and $9.

    Try restaurant dot com for coupons, they run specials were one can buy a $25 coupon for $2. HOB in DtD honors them.

    If you stay at a motel that has a free breakfast, or if you bring muffins, croissants and fruit from home, and then do a 'snack lunch' (nuts, dried fruit, m&ms, juice boxes (you can free ice from the restauants without buying a meal), jerky, etc), then you can spend more on dinner!!

    I would skip the ART, personally, after hoofing it around the Park all day, what's another 3/4 of a mile?? But I like to walk!!
    So many good tips here! I had no idea there were so many ways to save.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cinderelluh View Post
    What I suggest too is that when we eat in our room, I prepare hors d'oeuvres so it's not like we are having to have meals in our room. Buy some snacks to go back and eat in the middle of the day and you have one meal down that is cheap. Use it as a time to relax and regroup!
    Not quite know what you mean by hors d'oeuvres in a motel room. Definitely going back to the room for a break.
    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
    Although, Disneyland is not the best place to go thru caffiene withdrawls...so if you are a soda addict, you may want to make yourself a cup of coffee back at the motel right before you leave for the parks....some motels provide a coffee machine right in your room(and if you want to make that an ice coffee, just pour that coffee into a larger cup full of ice from the ice machine )
    Not a soda addict, but that's a great tip about coffee. Perhaps bringing coffee from home would be a good idea too.
    Quote Originally Posted by pratt55 View Post
    If you really want to go on an all out savings trip I recommend the following:

    Priceline your room. We have gotten the Extended Stay America for as low as $25 a night, free parking, small kitchenette (stove, microwave, refrigerator) and within walking distance, right behind Anaheim Garden Walk.
    That price range would be lovely. Is it clean in your experience? My friend is pretty picky. Can you be nearly guaranteed to get that motel? I understand you aren't in full control with Priceline. Is it close enough to walk or would ART be a good option?

    Quote Originally Posted by pratt55 View Post
    If you are driving bring an ice chest filled with breakfast foods and late night snacks and water bottles. Also pick up some of those crystal light/koolaid single bottle mixers. Kids will not feel that they are missing out on soda if they have choices. You can bring in to the park a water bottle for each of you and then keep refilling it at the various restaurants.
    Excellent tip on the crystal light/koolaid. How akward is it taking water bottles on rides? I'm not sure about a backpack because it would seem difficult to stow it on the faster rides.

    Quote Originally Posted by pratt55 View Post
    Lunch: Walk to McDonald's from the park, bring PB & J Sandwiches and put them in a locker and eat in the picnic area or go the sharing route. My husband and I have found that we can easily share 1 adult and 1 kids meal between the 2 of us and be full. We have also used restaurant.com and saved $25 off a $35 (inc. tip) order at Fire & Ice at Garden Walk.
    Dinner: Same as lunch or if the park is closing early, Del Taco is just down the street and they have .39 cent tacos; Jack in the Box is also nearby with their dollar menu or eat something prepared in the room.
    Really good tips to consider! I'm starting to see that this trip would be doable! I'm getting excited!
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